Posted by Alex | Filed under Occucade
This Saturday, January 21st, marked the first day actual construction started on the OAK-U-TRON 201X. anna and daphny not only spent their time working on the new game developed specifically for the Occu-Tron, but also donated an empty arcade cabinet they had hanging around. Without this, I don’t think it would be possible to have a working machine by Move-In Day on January 28th, so they deserve a lot of thanks!
After carrying the 250 lb. cabinet down five flights of stairs, through 2 elevators, over a fence, up an escalator, and around a merry-go-round, we threw it in the back of our rental truck. Luckily, the cabinet was exactly the length of the pickup bed, so we thanked the goddesses for our fortune and drove off.
Flying down the highway at 140 miles-per-hour to drop the cabinet of at Mars’s shop and return our hourly-rental truck before it turned into a pumpkin took a bit out of us, so we spent a few minutes indoors trying to piece together a full computer from spare parts organized like a tub of assorted legos whose individual instruction books have long since been lost. The best CPU we managed to come by was a vintage 650GHz AMD Athalon from 1889. So we checked Craigslist before buzzing down to the infernal depths of Lower San Francisco to pick up a state-of-the-art HP D530 in the Small Form Factor Flavor, which you can see in the middle right, just beneath and to the right of the mustachioed Sega Saturn.
After having our fill of hardware issues, we decided to work on the hardware issues. Considering that the cabinet itself took up much of the room in the shop and the difficult involved in maneuvering it around and around it, we decided to start with the wheel cart. A scrap bed railing, cut in half and tied together with spare 2×6’s provided an base, and four $2 two-inch casters provided the mobility.
Field testing determined that the cart was both sturdy and manueverable enough to try supporting the cabinet itself.
Like a geriatric gorilla with walker, once the cab was placed on its cart it could maneuver over most sidewalk features and ramps and could even make it up tiny driveway curbs, but it felt quite precarious on the 2-inch casters. Further development may be needed on this front, er… bottom.
A trimmed-down sheet of scrap MDF mounted with hinges provided a nice if unsightly front panel. The TV pictured here belonged to a craigslister from whom we decided not to buy it, but instead Mars bought a stereo from her so she threw the TV in for free.
In order to test the display’s S-Video connection, we had to add another bleeding-edge component, this time a GeForce 4 Ti graphics card, imported from 2004 (3 years more advanced than the onboard HAL-9000 chip). The standard-sized graphics card required some intricate case-modding in order to fit in the small-form-factor case, but nothing we couldn’t handle with the right tools.
Unfortunately, the only resolution our rig could muster over S-Video was 800×600, which might suffice for a MAME cabinet, but will not work for the Winnitron’s standard resolution of 1024×768.
Then, after a productive day, I spend about 3 hours wrestling with legacy drivers to try to get any arcade emulator working over VGA using either the AGP card or the onboard chip, to no avail. Any time the program would try to change the display resolution, it would crash back to the desktop with no error message. Not sure if this problem is from running a new OS (Windows 7) on hardware so old that none of the drivers are supported, but I might just try wiping the machine and reinstalling XP to see if that fixes anything.
These are our most immediate needs. If you would like to donate anything on this list, it would be much appreciated. Just drop a note in the comments, or email oakutron at rpmcollective.com.
19″ LCD monitor (or an LCD approaching, but no wider than, 23″, preferably 4:3)
A deep-cycle battery
An inverter capable of handling at least 300 to 400 Watts, modified or pure sine-wave.
a 19″ (or larger) Windows-capable laptop, as long as the screen is no wider than 23 inches.
2 Responses to “Screenshot Saturday: Occucade”
January 24th, 2012 at 11:24 pm
I have a spare ViewSonic VX710 LCD monitor, it’s only 17″ though. I also have some moderately crappy PC speakers. If you want either, email me
Move-In Day: The Maiden Voyage of the OAK-U-TRON | RPM Collective Says:
February 3rd, 2012 at 4:40 pm
[...] joked in a previous post about the circuitous path we had to carry the empty cabinet. Little did I know, the actual journey [...]